When Is a Field-Goal Attempt a Chip Shot? Never!


After Stephen Hauschka missed a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left in overtime against the Cardinals on Oct. 23, the Seahawks had to settle for a 6-6 tie.

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It is a ubiquitous expression in football, a term borrowed from golf that has been refashioned and taken on a misguided connotation.

The phrase “chip-shot field goal” is meant to describe a short kick that should never be missed. No one knows the exact origin of the phrase in football. Nor do fans, broadcasters or coaches question its use, despite the fact that the techniques of a golf chip and a short field-goal attempt are completely different.

Kickers seem to be the only people who despise the term, perhaps because most of them play both football and golf and recognize how wrongly it is applied. But the expression has staying power. It is now in most online dictionaries as an American football reference.

Lately, football fans have heard a lot about chip-shot field goals because several N.F.L. games have been won, lost or tied by botched short field-goal attempts. In…

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